Congrats to Team Onepath! – Inc. 5000

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inc5000_num_2594We learned this morning that Onepath has been named to the Inc. 5000 list for the 9th time!  Talk about awesome!  While I’m new to the team, I already feel like I’ve been part of the team forever and feel a great sense of pride in this distinction.  It’s pretty cool to be able to say that you work for a company that’s on the Inc. 5000!

You can read our news release on the Onepath website here.

Congrats to the entire Onepath team!  The next time will be even more meaningful for me, as I will have been part of the team for far more than the four months it’s been since Onepath acquired us.  Excited times for sure.

At Onepath, we bring more horsepower, more commitment and a more complete game plan to our clients and partners.  We help design, deploy, support and maintain our clients technology from cable to Cloud.  It’s all about showing our clients the easier way to get hard things done.

Here’s to our bright future and our next listing on the Inc. 5000!

P.S. Don’t forget to follow Onepath on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

IRS/FBI Scam Warning

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Yesterday, the IRS issued a very specific and urgent warning about an email scam that uses the emblems of both the IRS and the FBI in the message.  This is just another iteration of social engineering trying to get the recipient to click on links within the message that will potentially compromise the users computer.

If you regularly read my blog, you know not to click links without inspecting them first and ideally, typing the URL into your web browser.

“This is a new twist on an old scheme,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “People should stay vigilant against email scams that try to impersonate the IRS and other agencies that try to lure you into clicking a link or opening an attachment. People with a tax issue won’t get their first contact from the IRS with a threatening email or phone call.”

The IRS does not use email, text messaging or social media to contact taxpayers about their tax obligations.  If you ever have a question, the IRS maintains a great page on IRS.gov called “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts.”

Here’s a copy of one of these email scams, so you have an idea what to be on the watch for:

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Beware of Hurricane Harvey Online Scams!

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imagesMVIDJ004It’s disgusting, to put it mildly, but inevitable.  Cyber-scum are using the historic devastation of Hurricane Harvey to solicit false charitable giving to help the victims.  Don’t become a victim yourself!  It’s a very sad reality that we can’t even trust those seeming to be trying to do good for others.

There are fake groups popping up on Facebook pages and tweets being sent with links to fake charity websites.  Email phishing campaigns are ramping up.  In a truly sick twist of irony, as Texas grapples with the prospect of increasing rainfall over the coming days, we can expect to see increasing attempts to scam us in the name of Hurricane Harvey.

Some email phishing campaigns are reported to be using the hashtag #HurricaneHarveyReliefFunds that the hackers are actually pocketing themselves.

Bottom line, don’t click on any links in email or social media purporting to support charitable giving for those impacted by this terrible storm.  Instead, go to your favorite charities web site, something like the American Red Cross, which has setup a page to accept donation to help those impacted.

You didn’t just click that link did you?  I hope not, as that means you didn’t heed my warning, which is what this post is all about.  Please don’t panic if you did.  If you did click the link you know you went to a special page I setup on my blog, right here within this site, that tells you how you should actually go about contacting the Red Cross, if that is your preferred charity.

Remember, it’s always best to NOT CLICK!  Type in the address instead.  You’ll be safer for it.

My thoughts go out to all those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.  I have many friends and family in harm’s way.  So far, all are safe and hopefully everyone will stay safe until this storm fully passes.

What About VoIP – a Podcast

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I was recently interviewed by Jonathan Blackwood, managing editor of TechDecisions, for his most recent podcast on Voice over IP, VoIP.  Jonathan is the Managing Editor at TechDecisions and I truly appreciated the opportunity to speak with him.  He’s as passionate about the IT industry as I am and his podcasts are very well regarded throughout the industry.

TechDecisions is a division of EH Media, the company behind Commercial Integrator, Security Sales & Integration and ChannelPro magazines.  TechDecisions is also the new site that brings them all together, to make it easier for technology professionals and decision makers to get the information they need to ensure project success across these evolving technology segments.

In this podcast interview, Jonathan and I discuss VoIP and what opportunities it presents for companies of all sizes and the technology partners the work with.  We talked about understanding what VoIP really means and the different ways organizations may implement it.  We also talk about some of the newer offerings maturing in the market and how to write an RFP for VoIP services.TD-podcast-logo-r.jpg

You may listen to the podcast here.

Good Business Partners are Critical for Success

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It should come as no secret that the information technology business is a complex landscape.  From ever evolving technological innovation and change to the critical shortage of a qualified and diverse workforce, this business has many challenges, just as most do.

One strategic advantage that has proven successful over the years is picking the right business partners and working so closely with them that the lines between the two organizations are at times, almost non-existent.

I’ve spent the past week in several strategic meetings, talking with various business partners about taking our collective businesses to new heights of success.  It’s been exciting and energizing and I’m looking forward to building even closer relationships that bring clear benefit to our clients.

One such example of this is our partnership with Barracuda Networks and their Intronis MSP Solutions business unit.  The video below is a great testament to a wonderful partnership that directly benefits our clients.  Pete Peterson, our VP of Sales, Zach Leffler, one of our Account Executives, Allison Mascolo, my team lead for Client Engagement and Nick Thomas, one of our Technical Account Managers do a great job explaining why good business partners like Barracuda/Intronis are key to our success.

You’ll also get a great view of our Onepath New England office 🙂  Enjoy.

Be On The Lookout for Office 365 Phishing Attacks

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Given the article and blog post I recently wrote on getting the most out of Office 365, I thought I should share a warning about a couple of phishing attacks that are specifically targeting Office 365 email users.Office 365 PhishingIf you receive an email with one of the following two sentences, know it is a phishing attack.

One states “two new messages concerning your security update” and the other states “two e-mails in pending status due to a recent upgrade to Microsoft databases.”

These messages contain links that initially appear to be taking you to Office 365, but in reality, the links are taking you to the hackers web sites and likely allow the hacker to gain access to your computer or install malicious code.

Like any messages with links or attachments, be sure you are 100% certain of its authenticity.  If you are even one percent unsure, don’t click or open.

Stay safe online!

 

Are You Taking Advantage of Office 365

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The following was published in the August 20, 2017 editions of Seacoast Sunday and Foster’s.

Most small and mid-size businesses have or are moving to Office 365 for various reasons. Mostly, this is to deliver more reliable email, but Microsoft continues to bundle more software and features into the subscriptions, yet most people think it’s just email.

Microsoft offers a range of subscriptions from as low as $5 per month per user to $35 per month per user.

Office 365The most basic business subscription, Office 365 Business Essentials, offers a complete online experience for email and collaboration. If you already own Microsoft Office software for your computer, you can connect your desktop software to some of the services included in this subscription. What you get for $5 a month is impressive. A 50-gigabyte email box and web versions of Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint, allow you to work with and create files using the popular Office applications in your web browser. You also receive 1 terabyte of storage in OneDrive, Microsoft’s online file storage and sharing service. You also get SharePoint Online, a web-based collaboration platform you can use to create a private Intranet site for your business.

You also have a subscription to Skype for Business, which may be used for internal and external instant messaging and hosting online meetings. You even have access to team-based services like Microsoft Planner and Yammer, which allow you to manage team tasks and cross departmental collaboration. All this comes with 24/7 phone and online support.

This subscription level is valid for companies with up to 300 users.

The Office 365 Enterprise E5 subscription includes everything in the basic level, plus the following. The most noticeable addition is the inclusion of the Microsoft Office software for up to five devices per person. This includes PCs, Macs, smartphones and tablets. You get the latest versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Access. The available OneDrive storage is unlimited at this level. Skype adds Skype Meeting Broadcast, which allows you to host online meetings for up to 10,000 participants. Email gains advanced eDiscovery with search, legal hold, export and analytics.

Also added are retention and deletion policies for email and advanced threat detection. Advanced Security Management provides insight into potential threats to your data, including data leakage. Another major benefit of this subscription is Skype calling via a Cloud PBX, which allows you to use Skype to replace your existing phone system. You have the option to use Microsoft for your local, long distance and international calling or use your existing services with Skype.

Finally, there is Microsoft Power BI, a robust analytics tool that allows the average user to create meaningful dashboards to track metrics that matter for them. There is no limit to the number of users. For $35 a month per user, this is absolutely the best value. Most businesses will pay significantly more to come up with this powerful a set of benefits through any other means.

There are several subscription options between these two that offer more and more features on top of the basics. If one subscription doesn’t offer quite enough and another too much, I’m sure there is a subscription between that will be right for your business. Challenge your company to take full advantage of Office 365, whichever subscription you may have. Chances are you are not.

One final item: You will notice I have a new title and company name this week. In late May, Internet & Telephone, LLC was acquired by Onepath. This past week, we completed our rebranding and are now known as Onepath and I have a new role that provides me with increased opportunities to work directly with our clients. We have the same local New England-based team with our New England base of operations in North Andover, Massachusetts, and our offices and data centers in Boston and Portsmouth. We add our corporate headquarters and other offices in the Southeast. It’s an exciting time for our clients and our dedicated team of technology professionals.

MJ Shoer is director, client engagement and vCIO at Onepath, with offices in New England and the Southeast. Onepath is the one source for all things to do with designing, deploying and supporting technology – from cable to Cloud. He maintains a blog about IT at www.mjshoer.com and may be reached at mshoer@1path.com.

It’s a Big Day! We Are Onepath!!

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Today, I’m excited to share news about my current company.  As most of my readers know, in December of 2015 I sold my original MSP Jenaly Technology Group to Internet & Telephone, LLC and joined I&T as their CTO.  Today, I’m excited to share that I&T has rebranded as Onepath, having been acquired by Onepath a few months ago.

I am now the Director, Client Engagement & vCIO working out of our New England offices.  Our Client Engagement team is dedicated to servicing our clients at the highest level in the industry.  I’m excited to be spending more time with our clients in this role, both leading our Client Engagement team and consulting with them as their virtual CIO.

We still have our New England office at our new North Andover Network Operations Center at 56 High Street along with our offices and datacenters in Portsmouth, NH and Boston, MA.

Onepath is the “easier way to get hard things done” and our New England team is proud to be part of the team.  We design, deploy and support technology from “cable to Cloud.”

Our corporate headquarters is now in the southeast, in the metro Atlanta area.  Onepath is a diverse national company and our business unit, IT Services, is based out of our beautiful Symrna, GA office.  Together, our 900 employees across North America bring more horsepower, more commitment and a more complete game plan.  That’s how you get hard things done.  And it’s the only way we do things at Onepath.

Today opens a bright new chapter in the legacy of Jenaly and I&T as we move forward as Onepath to help our clients reach their business goals through smart and innovative applications of technology.

The future is bright and I’m grateful and proud to be a part of it.  logo-onepath

Secure Your Internet Connected Printer

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Late last week, the FBI issued what is known as a Private Industry Notification, or PIN, regarding Internet connected printers.  These are printers that allow you to print to them remotely, when outside the network.

The FBI has confirmed that criminal actors have exploited vulnerabilities in these printers to either manipulate legitimate print jobs or to distribute threats and hate speech.  In one confirmed case, over 130 businesses across all sectors of the economy, received bomb threats via fax or forced print jobs.

The FBI has identified the following recommendations to prevent these types of cyber attacks:

  • Ensure ports 515, 631, and 9100 are not publicly accessible over the Internet. If keeping these ports open is necessary, consider whitelisting specific IP addresses or subnets to ensure only legitimate traffic can connect to the printer.
  • Consider the use of alternative ports for Internet-connected printers and other devices.
  • Ensure all Internet-connected printers and devices on the network have strong usernames and passwords. Default usernames and passwords should be changed.
  • Conduct daily reviews of printer logins to identify and flag unauthorized IP addresses.
  • Configure firewalls to block traffic from unauthorized IP addresses to printers and other network devices.
  • Restrict Internet-connected printer and device connectivity to non-sensitive business networks.

If you have an Internet enabled printer in your home or office, I strongly encourage you to take the above steps today.

The FBI encourages everyone to report potential cyber criminal activity to the FBI’s 24/7 Cyber Watch (CyWatch). CyWatch can be contacted by phone at (855) 292-3937 or by e-mail at CyWatch@ic.fbi.gov. When available, each report submitted should include the date, time, location, type of activity, number of people, and type of equipment used for the activity, the name of the submitting company or organization, and a designated point of contact.

Annual Event Gives Insight Into Tech’s Future

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The following was published in yesterday’s edition of Foster’s and Seacoast Sunday.

Every year around now, I attend the annual ChannelCon event, produced by CompTIA, The Computing Technology Industry Association, www.comptia.org.

This year’s event was held earlier this week in Austin, Texas and attracted a large representation of the IT industry. Representatives from just about any household technology name you can think of were in attendance as were representatives from IT service providers like the company I work for, from all over the world. What I find most valuable about this event, is that it is not a product focused event, meaning it isn’t built around the latest sales messaging for a particular company’s offerings. Rather, this is a truly educational gathering that helps to keep attendees ahead of the trends, while also providing an opportunity to hear from some of the companies that drive the technology industry forward.

The event also touches upon social issues. Several years ago, CompTIA launched the Advancing Women in IT member community. This community seeks to get more women interested in technology careers as women are underrepresented in technology as compared to the rest of the economy. This year marked the launch of the Advancing Diversity in IT member community. This community works to help companies create work environments inclusive of all people regardless of age, cultural background, physical abilities, race, religion, gender and sexual orientation. Further, this community seeks to be the leading advocate for the advancement of African-Americans, Hispanics and Latinos within the technology industry. Together with initiatives like the Tech Leaders Giving Circle, where technology company executives earmark donations from CompTIA to worthy local charities, CompTIA members have the opportunity to make a real difference in their local communities and for our country as a whole.

Butter HalfThe theme of this year’s event was “Be The Change.” The content was designed around industry training, peer-to-peer learning and networking so that attendees would walk away with new ideas and tools to put into immediate action to help grow their business and their career, while providing critical services to our local clients who increasingly rely on technology.

There were several engaging keynotes, that challenged us to develop better diversity cultures within our organizations. Others provided career advice from men and women in different parts of the industry who all had different experiences throughout their storied careers. There was a highly engaging keynote by Scott Belsky, who founded the company Behance, that challenged everyone to create “windows of non-stimulation.” The contention being that we are all bombarded by entirely too much information at every waking moment. I’m sure you can relate to this!

Educational tracks focused on emerging technologies like Smart Cities and the Internet of Things and how this will impact us, both as individuals and as workplaces within our communities. Cyber security was a hot topic, as you might expect. While many understand that their own business may have cyber security risks, most don’t think about it from the standpoint of understanding the cyber security posture of their business partners. For example, when you partner with an IT firm, do you take the time to understand how they protect themselves? This will often give you instant insight into how well they can protect you! Do you want to partner with a company that does not have appropriate safeguards in place to protect themselves? I sure hope not.

Business Intelligence, or BI, is another emerging hot topic. Driven in part by new tools that have come to market that make it easier and more cost effective, companies are embracing BI to help them understand how their business is performing, in real time. It’s no longer unrealistic to think that a business of any size, can develop dashboards to keep a real-time pulse on your business.

The IT industry remains vibrant and growing. The opportunities to work with partners to help you grow your business through smart technology investments are better than ever. Just don’t invest for the sake of implementing the latest new technology. Make sure you have clearly established goals for your business and then apply technology to help you reach those goals more efficiently and profitably.